Do Babies Really Need Toys? An Expert's Perspective

During the first two months of life, the baby does not need or want toys. Most babies don't even discover their own hands until around two months of age. But that doesn't mean a baby isn't interactive at this age. Those first two months are very, very important for emotional development. Featured image by Matthew Williams from Living Large in 675 Square Feet, Brooklyn Edition.

One of the oldest toys in existence, balls will see your child from childhood to adulthood. Babies will reach them during play on the floor, while babies who can sit and crawl will enjoy throwing, rolling and chasing them. Among the most versatile toys, cups or nesting boxes help baby to classify shapes and colors. Turn them around and the baby becomes a mini engineer, building tall towers.

Later, the cups and boxes can be used in imaginative games such as bowls or pots, nests or beds, doll houses and parking garages. If they are plastic, you can also use them in the bathtub. Your baby doesn't really need toys from day one. In the first few weeks they need your comfort, milk, sleep and warmth. Toys for babies and toddlers are not bad.

They can even be fun and something to create a bond with your child. But they're not necessarily better than, well, rocks. Just look around the world where babies grow up well without the typical Western toys that litter the gift table at the average American baby shower. There are babies for whom a cane and an inflated goat bladder provide all the joy they may need. There are children who build their own toys with discarded cables.

There are young children who learn to walk without a play center that they can push in front of them. There are babies who become productive adults of content who have grown up playing with rocks. Your baby should have three to five interesting things to play with, according to social worker and psychotherapist Vicki Sherman, who has extensive experience treating and working with infants and children through play therapy. In an interview with Romper, she explained: “Your baby doesn't have to have 10 toys”. Three or five interesting things to look at and feel are definitely enough. Sherman also shared that babies don't necessarily need toys that are specifically sold as toys.

Instead, tupperware, balls, pots and pans can serve as toys for the baby. During the first few months of life, the only toy your baby really needs is you. But before long, your little one will start to be curious about the world around him and then, everything becomes a toy. Babies also love to hit toys to make a sound, and the cups are very easy to grab for this activity. Although younger babies can interact with age-appropriate toys, such as shaking a rattle, it's not until after 6 months that babies actually start playing with toys in the more conventional sense of the word, for example, throwing blocks, rolling a ball, or cuddling with a teddy bear.

They have also remained one of the perfect toys and best gifts for babies for a long time, and for good reason. Usually babies are satisfied with a couple of toys and the company of adults or older children with whom they are. However, for infants and toddlers, toys are actually a very valuable tool to help develop their physical and social skills. It's important for babies to have toys that teach them how to manipulate objects and understand the basics of physics and geometry. Babies also learn about the world through senses, touch, sight and hearing, so some of the best toys for a 1-month-old can include toys with contrasting colors, soft sounds and different textures.

Rubber ducks, cups and jugs for pouring water and floating toys are ideal for babies to play in the bathtub. Do babies really need toys? The answer is both yes and no; it depends on what kind of toy you're talking about. While it's true that during their first two months of life babies don't need any kind of toy at all - just your love - after that period they start developing their physical skills as well as their social ones through playtime activities with different kinds of objects. Toys can be great tools to help your little one learn about shapes and colors while having fun at the same time; however it's important not to overdo it since too many objects can be overwhelming for them. Three or five interesting things should be enough; you don't need to buy expensive ones either since everyday items like tupperware or balls can do just fine. At the end of the day it's up to you whether you want to buy your baby some toys or not; but remember that during those first few months all they really need is your love.

Latasha Stokely
Latasha Stokely

Typical zombie scholar. Passionate bacon specialist. Proud bacon fan. Freelance food fanatic. Incurable social media evangelist.